Brain and Mind
I get a lot of questions about the brain and the mind from
subscribers to my Brainpower Newsletter. With the personal information
left out and the questions edited for clarity and grammar, here
are some of the emails along with my replies.
Q: Interesting article on how early our mental powers
start to decline, but what about the many people throughout history
who have contributed their best and most complex work at an advanced
A: You are absolutely right. I expect that those of us who
are older (okay, I'm only 45, but I'm getting there) will continue
to contribute disproportionately, because in the end one's raw
brainpower has less to do with productive new ideas than a solid
base of knowledge and wisdom, both of which hopefully come with
age. Researchers easily measure our "computing power,"
but it's more difficult to measure the things that are most important,
like creativity and experiential intuition and willingness to
open one's mind to new ideas.
Q: I heard from others that eating walnut helps in increasing
our IQ. Is this true?
A: The omega 3 fatty acids in walnuts have been shown to be
good for the brain. I'm not sure if actual IQ increases have
been measured after eating them for a while, but they are certainly
a healthy food, so it seems safe to self-experiment.
Q: Which type of music has a greater chance of increasing
our IQ, rock or rap?
A: I'm not sure whether rap or rock is better for the brain
(or if either is all that great for it), but it makes sense to
go with what works for you, meaning the music that helps you
concentrate, get creative or get motivated.
Q: Does motivation increase our IQ?
A: Motivation certainly can help you do the things that increase
the effectiveness of your thinking. Whether that translates into
a higher IQ score doesn't seem terribly important. It is enough
to have better functioning of your brain and mind, with or without
Q: I did my IQ test on three different sites and the
results showed for the first: 128, and the second: 136, and then
the third 113. Why the difference?
A: You're score will be different most times that you take
an IQ test. They really aren't that precise nor consistent, but
for reference you could average the three scores and say your
IQ is at least 125, which is pretty high.
Q: Does hearing Mozart helps us in increasing our IQ?
A: In a study done at UC Irvine's Center for Neurobiology
of Learning and Memory 36 students were given three spatial reasoning
tests from a standard IQ test. Prior to the first test they listened
to Mozart's sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448 for ten
minutes. Prior to the second they listened to a relaxation tape,
and before the third, they just sat quietly.
The average scores: 1st test: 119. 2nd test: 111. 3rd test:
An increase of 9 IQ points was achieved from listening to
Mozart, but it's assumed their intelligence didn't actually increase.
The music more likely put them in a state that gave them better
access to mental resources they already had available. But some
studies have shown that repeated exposure to slow music (like
some Mozart pieces) can permanently increase your IQ, at least
if this starts in early childhood.
Q: Do you think playing on a high level of Tetris (a
quick-paced game that involves fitting shapes into a line to
make it go away before you hit the top of the playing field,
meaning you lose) is a good mental challenge to keep/increase
A: I think Tetris is a great hand-eye coordination game, and
therefore good for the brain. Most games and other activities
only work certain parts of the brain though, so I wouldn't spend
too much time on one activity. I used to play Tetris years ago,
and it is one of the few video games I enjoy.
I will have more questions and answers on all of these topics
related to mental capacity in the future. Watch the "newest
pages" listings on the homepage (and they will also be announced
in The Mind Power Report).